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>I-80 Nebraska


That is the name of the first short story John ever had published, by Atlantic Monthly in, what, 1975? It was about a renegade trucker, going crazy on too many pills, riding with a load of rotting beef. Most of the talk is on CB radios. Remember CB radios? Now we are in our rented Prius, listening in out little capsule to Faulkner on an ipod.

We arrive at our hotel in downtown Omaha in mid-afternoon on Memorial Day. I love this hotel. I love an old downtown hotel that has done a good job of renovating. Can you tell these are wonderful chandeliers in the lobby?

It’s a space-age shape, all described in crystals. And look at this wonderful courtyard. You could have a good party here.

All hotels should have free wireless internet, as the Magnolia does. Seldom do you get free internet in the high-end hotels which is nuts when you are paying all that money. The Magnolia and all the other hotels we are staying in have free wireless. That’s one of my criteria. We both do some work, then go down to the bar for free happy hour (another bonus at the Magnolia) and then out for a look around. This area is halfway through transition to trendy, I guess. Plenty of old buildings preserved thoughtfully.

Somebody thought of a cool old-new way to advertise the new businesses.

And there are funky stores and some Art

And a lot of plaques for what used to be. This tells us this building had a swimming pool in its basement.

“Pave paradise, put up a parking lot”. I complain to John a lot about that here in Omaha. Big chunky parking garages ruining every corner. Joni Mitchell had no idea… It’s incredibly windy. We left North Platte a little concerned about storms in Minnesota reaching as far west as Omaha. Can you see the wind in this picture?

Our nice waiter at Magnolia assures us we will be safe in this strong, old building. Maybe we’ll have thunderstorms. We are tucked so deep in the Magnolia that we don’t hear a thing.

I think the architect was thinking of Paris. We sleep like tops and have a quick breakfast in the groovy bar. These free breakfasts are a nice feature of American hotels, one that has finally caught on.

And we’re off to Minneapolis. It’s been nice to have a day off.

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